GCHQ targets gamers for next-gen spies

GCHQ targets gamers for next-gen spies

The name's 008, gamerboy_fragclan_008

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the surveillance arm of UK intelligence, is embedding job ads in video games in a bid to target its latest generation of recruits.

The month-long advertising campaign, which starts at the end of October, will feature in games such as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent.

GCHQ said in a statement that the organisation hopes to "capture the imagination of people with a particular interest in IT".

The campaign is being jointly run by GCHQ's Careers In British Intelligence unit, recruitment firm TMP Worldwide and Microsoft's Massive Inc in-game ad agency.

PC and Xbox 360 games such as Splinter Cell: Need for Speed Carbon and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars will carry embedded ads headed 'Careers in British Intelligence'.

Kate Clemens, head of GCHQ's digital strategy at TMP Worldwide, explained that the campaign will target frequent gamers who are "particularly receptive to innovative forms of advertising".

"The world of online gaming offers GCHQ a further route to target a captive audience," she said.

The move follows efforts by British foreign intelligence service MI6 and its domestic counterpart MI5 to broaden its recruiting pool outside white, male graduates from Oxbridge.

MI5 has placed also placed job ads in women's changing rooms at gyms and on the side of double-decker London buses in a bid to attract more female applicants.

GCHQ employs around 5,000 people and is located at Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.